Conservation Scientist

Job Description:

Conservation scientists manage, improve, and protect natural resources to make the best of them without harming the environment.

Job Category:
Environmental Industry

What you will do:

As a conservation scientist, you’ll be finding and improving ways to protect natural resources. You’ll work with lots of people, from labourers to the government, to implement your methods. You could be managing the conservation of large spaces, like ranges and forests, or overseeing soil, water, or other resource conservation.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • meeting with government policy makers to discuss how to make land safer and eco-friendly
  • advising on the environmental impact of land-based decisions
  • supervising conservation teams
  • evaluating data, like soil quality
  • advising labour workers on forest management and protection
  • monitoring government practices to make sure land is being protected
  • negotiating contracts with land owners on how their land will be used
  • coming up with ways to remove waste without damaging the environment


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of biology / science
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and main software packages competently

As well as:

  • strong leadership skills
  • teamwork skills
  • the ability to make decisions carefully
  • excellent communication skills
  • attention to detail
  • willingness to help and to get involved in lots of different tasks
  • logical thinking skills
  • curiosity and keenness to solve problems (drive)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Conservation Scientist, you typically do not need specific subjects, but certain subjects and skills can be beneficial in preparing for a career in conservation and environmental science. Conservation Scientists are responsible for studying and managing natural resources, ecosystems, and wildlife to promote sustainability and protect the environment. Here are some relevant subjects:

  1. Biology: Biology provides a strong foundation in understanding living organisms, ecosystems, and ecological principles, which are fundamental to conservation science.
  2. Chemistry: While not mandatory, Chemistry can be useful for understanding chemical aspects of environmental processes, pollution, and water quality.
  3. Mathematics (Maths): Basic numeracy skills are important for data analysis, statistical modelling, and conducting research related to conservation projects.
  4. Environmental Science or Geography: courses in Environmental Science or Geography can provide insights into environmental issues, ecosystems, geography, and land use that are relevant to conservation.
  5. English Language: Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for documenting research findings, writing reports, and communicating with colleagues and the public.
  6. Physics: Physics can be beneficial for understanding physical principles related to environmental processes, energy, and climate.
  7. Geology: Some conservation work involves studying geological processes, landforms, and their impact on ecosystems, so Geology can be helpful.

Post School

You will need a degree in a relevant subject, such as the following:

  • Ecology
  • Biology
  • Geography
  • Agriculture
  • Earth science
  • Marine science
  • Plant science
  • Sustainability
  • Environmental management

A master’s degree would be useful to progress and specialise as a conservation scientist.

Working Hours and Environment:

Conservation scientists may work outdoors, which means working in all weathers and sometimes in physically challenging environments, like dense woodland.

If you’re working in a remote location, you may spend long periods of time working alone.

Working hours will be variable and may be long, as your work will be based around seasons, daylight hours, and desirable weather conditions.

Career Path & Progression:

As you gain experience, you may develop interest in a particular area of conservation science, such as forestry, water, or soil. You may be able to move into a job in this area and make use of your increased expertise. Studying for a master’s in this area will hugely help your chances of being able to specialise.

You should also be willing to move across the country as opportunities may be scarce and are very dependent on location – you can’t work in oceanography if you don’t live near the coast.

You may be able to move into managing a team of conservation scientists. You could move into consultancy and offer advice and guidance to many different organisations.